You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
A nurse working in West Africa treating Ebola patients contracted the disease herself. On her return to the UK she was hospitalized, remaining critically ill for some time. Fortunately she recovered her full health, for which we must thank God.
When she was first diagnosed a TV reporter visited the hospital in Sierra Leone where she had worked. He spoke to a woman who had been cured of the disease under the nurse’s care and asked what message she had for her. The woman said “I will pray to God that He sends her the medicines to make her better.”
What a fantastic example of faith but also of compassion! And, of course, it was something more since by the wonders of television her prayer reached millions of viewers in the UK and no doubt prompted others to add their own prayer.
One might have expected the woman to be bitter; after all she was poor, living in an impoverished country. As she had probably lost members of her family to the disease, she might have said, “She will get better treatment in a white hospital than we do here.” But she did not. She showed compassion for the nurse; compassion and a trust that God would provide. I doubt she has any idea what drugs were needed or how the nurse would get them but she knew that if she asked God then He would provide them.
St Paul’s message to the Church at Corinth all those years ago finds echo here in that impoverished village: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13:13. I pray that that message will resonate in all our hearts, today and forever.
There is a beautiful prayer on the Jesuit web site www.sacredspace.ie this morning which I commend to you. It reads:
Jesus, You always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that You will never abandon me.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years